Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon. Art installation in Bordalo Pinheiro Museum
Never miss another article | Subscribe here
Home » Gardens

In today’s article about Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon, we seek to bring you public places where original work by this extraordinary artist can still be seen.

We’ll also go through tributes to him and other public works inspired by his ceramic pieces. Thus, this time we’ll meet Bordalo outside of the museum dedicated to him.

Get to know Lisbon’s historic neighbourhoods in a guided tour and discover unmissable places of this magnificent city.

Bordalo Pinheiro and Lisbon

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (1846-1905), was born, lived and passed away in Lisbon. The city was marked by his undeniable presence. The cervejaria Leão de Ouro, the restaurant Tavares Rico, the São Carlos National Theatre are only some of the examples of places whose history wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for Bordalo. The same happens with places where he left his art pieces, such as the ones in our selection.

In its varied artistic work, which extends from caricature drawing to graphic design, from interior decoration to ceramics, the city of Lisbon is a constant presence. His keen critical sense and humor spared no institutions, monuments, typical characters or habits.

To observe his work closely is to take a trip back in time to Lisbon at the turn of the 19th to 20th century. And as is typical of the greatest artists, his legacy consists not only of his artwork but also of the consequences and the inspiration that come from him.

Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon: Original Work

Tobacconist Mónaco

Tobacconist Mónaco, front and back doors. At the time, the tobacconist's space connected Rossio with Rua 1º de Dezembro, thus it had two doors. We can still see Bordalo’s tiles surrounding these narrow passages today.
Tobacconist Mónaco, front and back doors

Tobacconist Mónaco, inaugurated in 1875, was an establishment that had a major impact on the city of Lisbon. Located at no. 21 in Rossio, specialised in tobacco and the first to sell foreign newspapers and magazines, it was the stage for gatherings of intellectuals and, later on, it was there that the first public telephone was installed.

In 1894 the space underwent a profound remodeling, taking on the shape it still has today. The project, led by the architect Rozendo Carvalheira, had the collaboration of the sculptor Pedro dos Reis, the painter António Ramalho, the magnificent wooden furniture from Brazil by Frederico Augusto Ribeiro and the tiles by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro.

At the time, the tobacconist’s space connected Rossio with Rua 1º de Dezembro, thus it had two doors. We can still see Bordalo’s tiles surrounding these narrow passages today. The door on Rua 1º de Dezembro hasn’t belonged to the tobacconist for a long time, but the tiles remain there, testifying this connection. Unfortunately, part of it is reassembled invertedly.

In these compositions, in the traditional blue and white but with yellow frames, which already indicate new times, the scathing artist parodies the customers, represented there as frogs and storks … These representations are extended inside the tobacconist. Colourful relief tiles of water lilies and frogs that cover a fountain that supplied water from Sintra, Caneças and Moura can also be seen there.

When the telephone was installed, fictitious telegraph wires were also installed inside the tobacconist as a sign of modernity. Bordalo, with great sense of opportunity, composed this staging by adding more than thirty of his fluttering swallows to the wires.

A surprising space classified as a Lisbon Historic Shop, which deserves to be visited.

Tile Decoration of Panificação Mecânica

Tiles with the ears and butterflies pattern that can be seen in the Panificação Mecânica in Campo de Ourique.
Tiles with the ears and butterflies pattern that can be seen in the Panificação Mecânica in Campo de Ourique.

The second place we suggest you go and see Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon, is located in Campo de Ourique. It is here in this neighbourhood that was developed at the end of the 19th century, which was far away from the city centre at the time, that we’ll find Panificação Mecânica.

This former bakery, now a pastry shop and a place for quick meals, also classified as a Lisbon Historic Shop, is located in a property of public interest, on the corner of Rua de Campo de Ourique and Rua Silva Carvalho.

There we find a decoration that mixes the language of Iron Architecture, Art Nouveau and of a classicist taste. An eclectic space that mixes, in a balanced and creative way, diverse materials such as glass, iron, stucco, wood and, of course, the relief tiles of Bordalo Pinheiro.

We don’t know the year of its realization, but perhaps we can suggest 1902 when the Companhia de Panificação Lisbonense, which then occupied this location, submitted a project to the City Council of Lisbon to occupy the backyard with an oven room.

Currently, the profusion of exhibitors, counters and other modern accessories, require an exercise of abstraction in order to be able to focus on the essence of the space. Still, it is worth the trip!

While having a delicious stuffed croissant, you can wander the gaze over the magnificent tiles and walk among ears, poppies, swallows and butterflies.

Palace of Beau-Séjour

Ceramic basin in Palace of Beau-Séjour.  It is a profusely decorated basin. There, crowned by three sunflowers, an aquatic world populated by crustaceans, fish, eels and frogs develops, involving two medallions in the centre of which we can see game animals.
Ceramic basin in Palace of Beau-Séjour. Image courtesy by the collector Luís Bayó Veiga

The Palace of Beau-Séjour, situated in Estrada de Benfica, was ordered built in the mid-19th century by the Viscountess of Regaleira.

A beautiful palace with a romantic style, which couldn’t lack the typical garden marked by lakes, squares with benches and exotic vegetation.

It has been classified as a monument of public interest and since 1992 that it is the headquarters of GEO – Gabinete de Estudos Olisiponenses (Lisbon studies department) of the City Council of Lisbon. It is thus a public space that can be visited.

In the 1870s, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro participated in the decoration of this building, as well as his siblings Columbano and Maria Augusta and the decorator Francisco Vilaça.

The old dining room gathers interventions by the three siblings. We highlight the pieces of Bordalo, relief tiles of water lilies and frogs, and also, a magnificent ceiling lamp from which hang generous grape clusters, vine leaves and other fruits in coloured ceramic.

In the lobby of this room is a surprisingly large piece. It is a profusely decorated basin. There, crowned by three sunflowers, an aquatic world populated by crustaceans, fish, eels and frogs develops, involving two medallions in the centre of which we can see game animals.

An extraordinary world that mixes naturalism and fantasy that Bordalo has accustomed us to.

Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon: Tributes

Toponymic Plaque of Bordalo Pinheiro Square

Toponymic plaque of Bordalo Pinheiro Square. The plaque is cut out as volutes, acanthus and colourful shells that frame the name Largo Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro.
Toponymic plaque of Bordalo Pinheiro Square

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro lived on the 2nd floor of the no. 29 of the then Abegoaria Square, in Chiado. In 1915 this square took his name and this tribute even extended to the model of toponymic plates present there.

They’re constituted by ceramic pieces on stone plaques mounted by four quadrangular pyramid metal nails. In a direct allusion to the relevant artistic legacy of Bordalo as a ceramist, the pieces are cut out as volutes, acanthus and colourful shells that frame the name Largo Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro.

Find out more about this urban equipment in Typologies of Toponymic Plaques of Lisbon and Unique Toponymic Plaques of Lisbon.

Monument in Tribute to Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro

Monument in tribute to Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro seen from the Museum named after him
Monument in tribute to Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro

This monument, inaugurated in 1921, consists of a stone plinth on which a bronze bust of Bordalo Pinheiro rests.

As we’ve seen in Public Art of Campo Grande Garden Route, it is an art piece of the youth of Raul Xavier (1894-1964), where the influence of his master, the sculptor Costa Motta (Tio) is still very prominent.

The decoration reminds us of the universe of Bordalo, through the presence of representations of the Republic, Zé Povinho and the cats.

You will find this monument in a discreet spot in the Campo Grande Garden right in front of the dynamic Bordalo Pinheiro Museum, a cultural space that deserves to be visited periodically, not only because of its collection but also its intense agenda.

Public Inspirations in the Art of Bordalo Pinheiro

Bordalo Pinheiro Garden in Pimenta Palace

Bordalo Pinheiro Garden
Bordalo Pinheiro Garden

This fantastic garden located in Pimenta Palace, headquarters of the Museum of Lisbon, is a true tribute to the ceramic work of the genius plastic artist.

The idea of creating this space was from Catarina Portas, businesswoman and journalist of Lisbon and its elaboration was led by the plastic artist Joana Vasconcelos.

This project from 2010 had the support of the City Council of Lisbon and in addition to being a tribute to Bordalo, it also aimed to save the ceramic company created by the artist in Caldas da Rainha in the year of 1884 from bankruptcy.

Throughout the garden, among trees and shrubs, in the middle of the lakes, you will be surprised by large animals such as: snakes, crabs, frogs, bees, lobsters among many others.

Find everything out in Bordalo Pinheiro Garden, the Unusual and the Fantastical!

Tile Covering and a Medallion in the Campo Grande Pedestrian Walkways

In the two pedestrian walkways of Campo Grande Garden there are relief tiles with the cat pattern of Bordalo Pinheiro. It is also possible to observe, on one of the pillars of the pedestrian walkway on the east side, a ceramic medallion à Della Robbia, with the artist's profile in white on a sky blue background, encircled by a crown of polychrome flowers and fruits.
Tile covering and a medallion in the Campo Grande pedestrian walkways

In the north area of the Campo Grande Garden there are two pedestrian walkways. One next to the Museum of Lisbon and The Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon and another one in front of the Lusófuna University.

In both there are relief tiles with the cat pattern of Bordalo Pinheiro and a ceramic medallion à Della Robbia, with the artist’s profile in white on a sky blue background, encircled by a crown of polychrome flowers and fruits.

In Bordalo Pinheiro Garden there are two other examples of this medallion.

Hissing Cat and Snail in Guerra Junqueiro Avenue

Hissing Cat and Snail at Guerra Junqueiro Avenue
Hissing Cat and Snail

In the area of Avenidas Novas, more specifically at Guerra Junqueiro Avenue, next to Londres Square, there are two ceramic pieces since 2018, large replicas of two works by Bordalo Pinheiro.

They are a Hissing Cat, an animal for which the artist had particular affection and a giant snail that shares the space of a public bench, covered with plain green tiles and others with water lilies, frogs and flowers.

These art pieces were gifted by the Bordallo Pinheiro Ceramic Factory to the City Council of Lisbon, concretely to the Areeiro Civil Parish and they’re also our last suggestion that we’ve selected for you to find Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon.

Happy strolls!

The project getLISBON has been very rewarding and we want to continue revealing the singularities of fascinating Lisbon.

Help us keep this project alive!

By using these links to make your reservations you’ll be supporting us. With no extra costs!

• Look up the best hotels on Booking.com and get 15% or more off!
• Looking for a different experience? We can create a customised itinerary based on your interests. Contact us!
• Or if you prefer tours and other activities in various destinations, take a look at GetYourGuide.
• Save time and money with a flexible Lisbon Card!
Rent a car with Autoeurope and discover other regions of Portugal

Príncipe Real Garden, Attractions and Curious Facts

Príncipe Real Garden, Attractions and Curious Facts

Príncipe Real Garden, in a romantic style with exotic plant species and small eclectic palaces around it, is one of the most beautiful quarter gardens.

The zone of Príncipe Real is situated between Amoreiras and Cais do Sodré and is considered one of the most cosmopolitan neighbourhoods of the city.

Famous or gourmet restaurants, cafés and shops with history or with alternative concepts, along with the proximity to Bairro Alto are more than enough reasons to visit this area.

But we’ll give you many other motives, such as two pieces of old urban equipment, in which one no longer exists.

Brief Historical Background

View of Rua da Escola Politécnica.
View of Rua da Escola Politécnica

This zone, a plateau known as Alto da Cotovia since the 15th century, underwent vicissitudes throughout the centuries.

The small palaces that had been projected, for several distinct reasons, ended up not being built and for a while, this privileged area wasn’t nothing more than a dump of Bairro Alto.

After the earthquake of 1755 the military regiments of the province that came to help the population of Lisbon set up camp here.

The Patriarchal Basilica, which had been recently built next to Tagus River, collapsed and it was here that the new Patriarchal was built and completed in 1761. But only eight years later a fire destroyed part of the building and two years after that another big fire destroyed the remains. From then on, it became known as Patriarcal Queimada (Burnt Patriarchal).

 A view of Príncipe Real Garden
Príncipe Real Garden

Only in mid-19th century were initiated the projects that resulted in the current space: the constructions of the Patriarchal Reservoir, the large pond and the garden, concluded in 1863.

The place’s designation changed over time and in 1859 the square was officially named Príncipe Real. From 1911 to 1919, in the context of the Republic, it was changed to Rio de Janeiro Square and the garden was called França Borges Garden.

However, nowadays thies area, the square and the garden recovered the previous designation of Príncipe Real.

Attractions of Príncipe Real Garden

The Organic Market that is held every saturday morning
Organic Market of Príncipe Real

Príncipe Real Garden has an organic character and a spontaneous look with winding flower beds that develop around a large octagonal pond. Plus, it is characterised by the presence of large exotic plant species.

Among them, we highlight the impressive rubber trees and the symbol of the garden, a Cupressus lusitanica, whose top is supported by a metal structure, resulting in a shadowed area of 20m of diametre. This was the first tree to be classified as public interest in Lisbon in 1940.

The garden also counts with a children’s park, drink kiosks and a restaurant.

But there are more reasons to visit it:

  • The Patriarchal Reservoir, which is part of the Water Museum and is located underground;
  • The Organic Market of Príncipe Real that is held every saturday morning and where you can find a vast variety of food products, from fresh produce to homemade products, sold by the producers themselves;
  • The Antiques and Crafts Fair of Príncipe Real, which takes place every last saturday and monday of each month.

Among these attractions and wonders of the nature, there are sculptures that you can get to know in Public Art in Príncipe Real Garden.

Do you feel like visiting Lisbon? Príncipe Real is in fact an excellent area for your stay. Find the best accommodations here.

Curious Facts

We also want to call your attention to two pieces of old urban equipment that we’ve talked about in the past.
In The Art and Design of the WC Kiosks of Lisbon we’ve told you about a type of urban equipment of 1913 of which four exemplars can still be seen.
In that same article we revealed that through old pictures we were able to identify a fifth WC kiosk in Príncipe Real Garden, as it is clearly shown in the photo of the inauguration of the bust of Sousa Viterbo in 1950.
Unfortunately, we don’t know the year of its demolition nor the new location of its tiles, which were probably from the painter J.Pinto.
Arquivo Municipal de Lisboa; Inauguration of the bust of Sousa Viterbo from the authorship of Francisco dos Santos; 1950; Claudino Madeira; PT/AMLSB/CMLSBAH/PCSP/004/MAD/000002

In Príncipe Real Garden you can also see one of the fountain-drinking troughs of Sociedade Protectora dos Animais offered to the city by Júlio Andrade in 1882. Although it still works, it could and would deserve to be in better condition.
 The fountain-drinking troughs of Sociedade Protectora dos Animais offered to the city by Júlio Andrade in 1882
The fountain-drinking troughs of Sociedade Protectora dos Animais in Príncipe Real Garden

Do you need any more reasons to (re)visit this magnificent garden? 😉


This article might contain affliate links.

The project getLISBON has been very rewarding and we want to continue revealing the singularities of fascinating Lisbon.

Help us keep this project alive!

By using these links to make your reservations you’ll be supporting us. With no extra costs!

• Look up the best hotels on Booking.com and get 15% or more off!
• Looking for a different experience? We can create a customised itinerary based on your interests. Contact us!
• Or if you prefer tours and other activities in various destinations, take a look at GetYourGuide.
• Save time and money with a flexible Lisbon Card!
Rent a car with Autoeurope and discover other regions of Portugal